FARMINGTON — Prairie Gravel, out of Chicago, was not too kind to the hosts of the Connie Mack World Series on Friday night.
Left fielder Cristian Sanchez's four RBIs fueled a 15-0 Prairie Gravel thrashing of the 4C-Clubsox at Ricketts Park. Prairie Gravel nearly doubled the eight-run, run rule through five innings to prematurely end the third and final game of Connie Mack's opening day.
Sanchez finished with two extra-base hits to go along with his four RBIs. He was a triple short of the cycle.
"He had a huge game for us," Prairie Gravel head coach Sam Sorce said of Sanchez. "He hit every ball on the nose, except for that last at-bat."
Sanchez put Prairie Gravel on the board in the second inning by hitting a towering, two-run home run. A few batters later, Jake VanderWal and Chris Bland ripped back-to-back doubles to cap a four-run frame for Prairie Gravel.
Sanchez struck again in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI double to left, near the same spot he hit the homer, to make it 5-0. 4C-Clubsox coach Brett Alexander then pulled starter Cam Baird for recent Volcano Vista High School graduate Tanner West.
Baird was charged with six earned runs, but the pitchers who followed him weren't much luckier.
West, Chris Moore and Tyler Barker were tagged for a combined eight earned runs — and one unearned — in what was a rough day for the 4C-Clubsox pitching staff.
"Tonight just got away from us," Alexander said. "We have a few other arms, but we didn't want to go to them. Pretty much the game's over, but you got to save arms for next game. It's done, it's over, we're going to move on."
Up 6-0 after three, Prairie Gravel paraded 14 batters to the plate in a game-breaking, eight-run fourth inning. Catcher Jordyn Muffley clubbed a two-RBI double in the first of his two at-bats in the marathon inning, as five Prairie Gravel batters batted twice.
Chris Bland also had a big day at the plate for Prairie Gravel, hitting an RBI double and earning two walks. Jake VanderWal went 2 for 3 with a single and an RBI double.
The visitors scored four times in the second, twice in the third and nine times in the fourth. They also collected a whopping 14 hits in the game.
Meanwhile, Prairie Gravel pitcher Connor Manous had everything working for him on the mound. He struck out 4C-Clubsox batters who were aggressive all night and freely swung at pitches. Manous was credited with the win.
"(Manous) is always around the plate, and he has a good breaking ball," Sorce said. "He has a tendency to overthrow, but when he relaxes and he pitches to contact, he starts getting more strikeouts."
The 4C-Clubsox (26-7) managed only two base hits, which came off the bats of Kody Russell and Wyatt Weaver.
"I thought we were pretty locked in coming in," Alexander said. "We got out of the first inning with a double play, then had guys on first and third with two outs, and I thought we put some pressure on them. Then all of the sudden they hit a two-run homer, and I think that kind of took the wind out of the sails."
Next up for Prairie Gravel (24-5-2) will be a 5:15 p.m. matchup Monday at Ricketts Park against either the Southern California Renegades (39-5-2) or the Louisiana Elite Yankees (22-6), who square off today at noon. Prairie Gravel will send Joey Cooner to the mound to pitch in that game.
The 4C-Clubox will play the loser of that game at 5:15 p.m. Sunday.
Leading hitters: Cristian Sanchez, 3 for 4, 2-R HR, 4 RBI; Jake VanderWal, 2 for 3, RBI 2B, 1B
WP: Connor Manous
Leading hitters: Kody Russell, 1B; Wyatt Weaver; 1B
LP: Cam Baird